Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Coming Home...

According to a report from, a Catholic reporting service, tens of thousands of Americans joined the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil three weeks ago. It also reported:

Most of those coming into the Church through the RCIA program are adults, but in some instances children are part of both groups, usually as members of a family that enters the Church together. According to early figures from the 2007 Official Catholic Directory, last year almost 64,500 adults were baptized in the Catholic Church and nearly 93,000 came into full communion. These numbers are supplemented by the baptisms of infants that occur in parishes throughout the year. It is estimated that more than a million infant baptisms will take place in the U.S. during 2008.

The backgrounds of the people seeking to be baptized or to enter into full communion by receiving first Communion and/or confirmation vary, but many express the sentiment that they are coming home.

This rather uplifting story is in contrast to the Pew survey reported in the papers just a few weeks ago. This survey found a large number of Catholics leaving and only a so so number coming into the Church.

The key to understanding the great number of conversions is what the above Zenit report stated: the new members of the Catholic Church felt like they were "coming home." You feel at home here because there is at last truth; there is no longer uncertainty. There is love. The Church teaches truth because of love; she wants no one to live in darkness nor to be led astray. Because of truth, each person in the worldwide Catholic family can grow deeply in the spiritual life—in a personal relationship with God.

If you regularly watch The Journey Home on EWTN (8 pm on Mondays), you know that there are basically two outstanding factors (besides God's grace) that help people come to the Faith, and they are charity and prayer. New converts often refer to Catholics whom they had previously met as being truly kind and helpful. They also credit their conversions to the persistent prayers of these Catholic acquaintances as well as the prayers of others (in some cases the prayers of friends and family).

We as Catholics are called to help others know the truth of our Faith. Love requires this. We must also be ceaseless in prayer and untiring in charity.

Fr. Stanley